08 November 2015

Fantasy Races: Troldhrym

Troldhryms' legends say they are descendants of the titans, born of primal elements with wild passions burning in their hearts and troll blood flowing through their veins. According to the stories repeated at troldhryms' lodges, their ancestors were hrymthurs, the firstborn children of the elder giants, a group of siblings of great stature, great might, and great pride, rivaling that of the gods themselves. Their number varies, depending on the teller of the story, from three, to seven, to thirteen but the legend agree that they were violent and wild lot, reckless and lustful, greedy for glory and generous with wealth. They always sought new challenges, new fights, and new entertainment. Once, the siblings ventured on a hunt but once they brought down a great beast (exact quarry differs depending on version of legend) they argued how to divide the most prestigious spoils for all of the siblings claimed to be the most important to their victory over the beast. The squabble grew into a fight and once the wrath overcame the siblings, lethal blows were struck, resilient as they were, their might was equally matched, so they all ended with mortal wounds, laying in puddles of their heart-blood, still arguing over their valor and laughing at their fate while their lives slowly fled. As they were slowly dying, a troll-crone came out of the dark wood (or the cave, or the swamps, or from the mountain) and found them broken and powerless. It pleased her much, for she and her kin had a grudge toward the siblings and envied them their might and beauty. Yet, as she was skilled in the ways of the witchcraft, she offered aid to the siblings (or they, aware of her talents, asked her to heal them, or she tricked them into complying, again the legends vary) if they were willing to meet her price. The siblings agreed, preferring to live and fight, and play, and hunt, and argue, and gather new glory, than to die with the shame of kinslaying on their heads. So she cut open her veins and let her blood mix with the siblings blood, gathered secret herbs, and spiderwebs, and minerals and made them into poultices and balms, and powders to soothe wounds and mend pierced intestines. When the siblings were tended to, she demanded their payment from them. She asked them to serve her for seven years (or three, or thirteen, or seven times seven) as her thralls, and she gave them many tasks, and she had them sire sons and daughters with her and their kin, giving rise to many might lines of high trolls. In their servitude, the siblings diminished and much of their great power and great beauty was squandered on impossible tasks (many lesser legends are told of services the troll-crone asked of them) and divided between their trollish progeny. When their thralldom was over, the siblings were different than they were before that fateful hunt, and so they were no longer hrymthurs, but now they become troldhrym.
Depending on the version of the legend and number of the siblings mentioned, some of them had died before the troll-crone saved them, some had chosen to stay with their trollish progeny, some had died performing tasks to the crone. The remaining siblings decided to split to avoid further arguments, and fights, and feuds, and kinslaying, and went different ways. Of the know siblings Eisen went to the land of ice-bound mountains and glaciers where she fashioned herself a husband of snow and frost and birthed the Eisenhrym tribe, Kyros went to the land of burning earth and blazing volcanoes and fathered Kyros'hrym tribe with a lady only known as an ember maid, and the third of the siblings went to live by the sea and be followed by Thernhrym tribe.

Modern troldhrym are still a passionate and reckless lot, though much closer in stature and capabilities to humans than giants. They love legends, heroic stories, bragging, and exaggeration, considering it a natural part of the stories. While troldhrym will gladly tell stories and boasts of triumph and victory, style and drama is deeply important to them, making an entertaining tale of magnificent failure preferable to dull story of efficient success. Interestingly, troldhryms consider bragging and verbal insults an art to the point where insulting one's neighbors, chieftains, and kings is not only allowed but even expected, (although being unimaginative and lacking in style while insulting others can be considered rude and lead to bad reputation, as does insulting people of lower status).

Deception in combat is fully accepted but outside of battle, war, and fighting for survival honesty and truthfulness (adjusted for the expected exaggeration and boastfulness) are considered the norm. Reputation for dishonesty leads to social shunning as does reputation for miserliness for generosity is viewed as properly heroic trait, fitting descendants of the mighty titans.

Magical skills are viewed in terms of either improving one's martial abilities or improving one's practical and survival abilities. There is little interest in academic magic but deep respect for elemental sorcery. Magic intended to compel others, deceive, curse or weaken is distrusted and generally considered a shameful act. Shapeshifting is viewed in a mixed way—it can make one take form of a powerful being increasing one's prowess but it can be also used to deceive.

The troldhrym tribes are ethnic divisions with easily recognizable physical features associated with each tribe. The tribes live far apart, having only marginal contact between each other, but on a rare occasion, a pair of troldhryms from different tribes start a relationship. Usually, the child from such coupling shows the traits of the mother's tribe. Three out of ten mixed-tribe couplings produce child of the father's tribe, and one out of ten is "tribeless", showing a mixture of the traits of all three tribes.

Physical Description: Troldhryms resemble tall, athletic humans, with a pair of tiny horns (of the same color as their hair) on their forehead. They can be easily recognized by their skin and hair color, determined by their tribe. Eisenhrym have pale blue or pale green skin and white or bright grey hair. Kyros'hrym have red, reddish-brown or brown skin and black or dark ash gray hair. Thernhrym have very dark blue or purple skin and pale gold or pale silver hair. The rare tribeless troldhryms have a combination of those colors, such as red skin and white hair, or blue skin with black hair.

Because of their resistance to mundane heat and cold, troldhryms focus on defensive qualities of clothing, preferring to wear armors of some sort at all times. They like to adorn themselves with jewelry and clothing that implies strength, prowess, and wealth, such as furs and hides of dangerous animals, necklaces of claws, and gold rings.

Society: Majority of troldhryms are freefolk living off the land and offering their allegiance to local chieftains who are responsible for arbitrating disputes between freefolk, leading freefolk in defense of the lands, providing for orphans, showing generosity to their followers with gifts and feasts, occasionally organizing raids against holdings of other chieftains, and slaying monsters that would threaten the holding. They are expected to hear to the woes, complains, opinions, and advice of freefolk that follow them. Freefolk can refuse or withdraw their allegiance to a chieftain as they please. Trying to force freefolk into obedience instead of swaying them with gifts and one's prestige is considered to be a deeply dishonorable act that would greatly undermine the chieftain's reputation and turn many (if not all) of his or her retainers and followers against him or her. At times, a chieftain may becomes famous and wealthy enough to gain allegiance of other chieftains, making him a chief of chiefs, or a king. More often, the allegiance is temporary, dictated by presence of a powerful threat, turning such chieftain into a warleader. Some chieftains keep small retinues of pledged landless freefolk. Such retainers are formally freefolk but are provided for by the chieftain giving a military edge of constant armed force. Personal fame and reputation, based on valor, generosity, courage, and practical skills are important qualities for troldhrym and influence their social and ritual standing and determine value of their voice in the chieftain's council. While most troldhrym detest and reject slavery they accept temporary thralldom, either as a voluntary form of repaying one's debts and obligations, or as a result of being taken captive in a battle. The maximum time of thralldom shouldn't exceed thirteen years; there is no stigma attached to an individual after the thralldom ends but having (currently or in the past) a renowned person as a thrall adds to the master's prestige.

Relations: Troldhryms are loud, boisterous, reckless, and often violent; a set of traits that does not endear others to them. Their courage makes them great mercenaries, as long as their employer can stand their bragging and insults. Their attempts at trade are usually unimpressive, turning many would-be merchants into part-time raiders but they lack organization and numbers to threaten bigger settlements of other races. Troldhrym respect dwarven craftsmanship but tend to underestimate prowess and courage of races much smaller than themselves.

Relations with trolls are complex issue for troldhryms. They are clearly considered a distant blood-kin but at the same time they are viewed as failed branch of giantkin, whose passions are reduced to hunger. Given a chance troldhryms prefer to try to push troll packs out of their territory without killing them unless forced to, and they are even willing to suffer a lone troll or two in their lands as long as it keeps to itself and feeds on wildlife or occasional herdbeast without causing harm to people.

Alignment And Religion: Troldhryms are often quite passionate in their actions, whatever their driving motivation might be and their culture has a strong individualistic, independent streak that usually directs them away from Lawful.

Their passion is reserved for personal interaction, and is quite lacking in their religious practices, where troldhryms prefer to make sacrifices to forces of nature and primal elements, rarely venturing forth to worship deities. They are quite superstitious, though, inventing rituals and suspecting active work of spirits in many everyday happenings.

Adventurers: Glory, violence, and wealth attracts troldhryms like mead attracts bees. They become adventurers eagerly and indiscriminately. Bloodragers and barbarians are epitome of troldhryms adventurers, followed by fighters, rangers, and slayers. They rarely become divine casters, or wizards but there are numerous troldhrym sorcerers, often specializing in elemental magic, as well as bards and skalds.

Names: Troldhrym names are usually composed of two or three syllables, with multiple consonants. H, G, R, Y, D, and TH are particularly common letters used. They love using sobriquets referring to their glorious deeds or to their favored insults.

Sample Names: Gyrda The Goldhand, Eisen, Kyros, Hurda The Pigchaser.

Troldhrym Racial Traits

Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Charisma, –2 Wisdom. Troldhryms are driven by passions that are their strength and weakness.

Giantkin: Troldhrym are humanoids with giant subtype.

Medium: Troldhryms are Medium creatures.

Normal Speed: Troldhryms have base speed of 30 feet.

Low-Light Vision: In dim light, troldhryms see twice as far as humans.

Resist Elements (Ex): Troldhryms suffer no harm from being in hot or cold environment. They can exist comfortably between –50 and 140 degrees Farenheit without having to make Fortitude saves. Additionally they have resistance 10 against cold (Eisenhrym), fire (Kyros'hrym) or electricty (Thernhrym). Tribeless troldhryms have cold, electricity, and fire resistance 5 instead.

Relentless (Ex): Troldhryms gain +2 racial bonus to saving throws against fear, pain, and sleep effects.

Trollblood (Su): Troldhryms can call upon the blood of the troll-crone running through their veins as a swift action once per day, gaining fast healing 1 for 1 minute. This fast healing increases by 1 per five character levels.

Languages: Troldhrym speak Common and Giant. Troldhryms with high Intelligence scores can select from Auran, Aquan, Draconic, Ignan, and Terran.

Troldhrym Racial Feats
Troldhryms can select following feats enhancing their racial abilities.

Eisenhrym Frostbinder
You wield cold and frost with deadly power.
Prerequisite: Eisenhrym or tribeless troldhrym.
Benefit: You inflict additional point of cold damage per die with your damaging cold spells and spell-like abilities.

Kyros'hrym Embercaster
You wield fire with deadly power.
Prerequisite: Kyros'hrym or tribeless troldhrym.
Benefit: You inflict additional point of fire damage per die with your damaging fire spells and spell-like abilities.

Potent Trollblood
You can call on your trollblood more often.
Prerequisite: Trollblood racial ability.
Benefit: You can use trollblood racial ability one additional time per day. This feat can be taken multiple times.

Thernhrym Stormcaller
You wield lightning with deadly power.
Prerequisite: Thernhrym or tribeless troldhrym.
Benefit: You inflict additional point of electricity damage per die with your damaging electricity spells and spell-like abilities.

Thick Trollblood
Your troll blood is stronger than usual.
Prerequisite: Trollblood racial ability.
Benefit: Your current fast healing value is added to all magical healing received. You can use your trollblood ability as an immediate action.

Favored Class Options
Troldhryms can select following options as their favored class bonuses.

Barbarian: Increase the barbarian's total number of rage rounds per day by 1.

Bard: Activating trollblood while using bardic performance bestows trollblood on 1/3rd of an ally affected by the performance in addition to oneself.

Bloodrager: Increase the bloodrager's total number of bloodrage rounds per day by 1.

Brawler: Add 1 round to duration of martial flexibility.

Commander: Add 1 additional use of speeches per day.

Fighter: Add +1/2 to fast healing granted by trollblood.

Kineticist: Add +1/2 to damage of kinetic blast damage while using trollblood.

Metamorph: Add +1/2 to fast healing granted by trollblood.

SkaldActivating trollblood while using raging song bestows trollblood on 1/3rd of an ally affected by the song in addition to oneself.

Sorcerer: Add +1/2 to cold (Eisenhrym), electricity (Thernhrym), fire (Kyros'hrym) or force (Tribeless) damage inflicted with sorcerer spells.


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